So, I was talking with a good friend of mine who is currently in his third year of law school (and shall be referred to as Brutus). Brutus said that veterans should not ask for government benefits and should only expect a pat on the shoulder and a thank you from ordinary citizens. I honestly couldn't believe that any red- blooded American would say something like that. As a result, I decided to think about this question: Is a "thank you" really enough?
In the spirit of honesty, I will admit that although I am not a veteran, I am a soldier. So, when people try to shake my hand I take the thank you graciously and move on. In short, I can't say I belong to that < 1% of Americans who have gone overseas to the battlefield. So, for me, the thank you is a nice gesture. For others who have gone overseas however, it is not enough for a few simple reasons.
1) The soldiers that do go overseas into war zones have to deal with so much that most people would not be willing to deal with. In exchange for their lives, pain and suffering; they maintain our freedom and sovereignty. IF these warriors do come home, they come home battered and beaten. Some are lucky enough to come home to loving families.However, many on the other hand are not so fortunate. In response, it is our national duty, as Americans to take care of these soldiers as best we can as a society.
2) Soldiers are an expensive asset to the United States government. To send us to Basic Combat Training Alone costs the US government over $70,000 per soldier (this is NOT HOW MUCH WE GET IN OUR PAY CHECKS, its what they spend on pay, training, travel, ect.), and after we leave training, we only get more expensive. As a result, its only within the economic interests of the government to upkeep such an expensive asset.
So, is a "thank you" really enough? For me, sure; for actual veterans.... absolutely not.